Hey guys. Meet Carrie. She practices @ Bikram Yoga Manhattan.
MH: Hey Carrie. How did you encounter Bikram Yoga?
CT: My best friend suggested I try it to enjoy some heat during a cold winter.
Yeah. The hot room is where everyone's at during the frigid winters. And scorching hot summers ;) Tell me about your first class?
I went to my first class in January 2004 at the studio in Soho. I stood in front row under a heat vent (I didn't understand what that meant on that day). The instructor asked if i would be ok. I remember saying with confidence "ive never done this before but, i'll be ok-im a runner". Well, within 10 minutes I could not stand up anymore the heat just blasted me! Not only did I feel naseaus I felt dirty. I thought to myself everyone's sweat is so clean and clear-they look beautiful and blissful. My sweat looked grey and it was so difficult to look at myself in the eye for 90 minutes without be judgemental of my body. I could get over the not being able to hold every posture on the first day but, the hope of clean sweat and a blissful face made me return.
Brave! That's so funny how you mention clean sweat. I totally know what you mean. Actually reminds me of a story my friend told me. He went out one night and ate like 25 dumplings and the next day in class he told me his sweat tasted like dumpling juice. Gross! I know I know. Funny too. But yeah, when you're hydrated and you practice regularly, its just H2O coming out. Why did you return?
The peaceful faces, the clean sweat and hearing from the instructors that all those people in the front row felt just like me when they started. So there was hope to get better and explore my edge in a no judgement zone. Every time I came back I did get a little better. At first better meant less naseaus, then keep standing for the whole class, then do all the postures, then learn to keep breathing....
That's pretty much it in a nutshell. Little by little the bird builds its nest. Where you/are you working through any injuries right now?
I had a broken heart/spirit. Some days I would just cry during class especially after camel. I have practiced this yoga for over 6 years. I have strengthend my knees, my biceps, my back and my abs but the musle that has strengthned the most is my heart/spirit. Once I started practicing with a stronger heart my postures have gone deeper and I have witnessed a full expression of myself that I didn't even know existed. Sometimes I am so happy during class I just start giggling or smiling for no reason.
I totally know the feeling! Thanks for reminding me of those happy moments. And thanks for sharing your emotional struggles. It's amazing how uplifting you feel when you practice regularly.
Well what I have heard repeated by all the instructors and Bikram himself is whatever you dislike the most is what you need to do the most! I hate that it is sooo true. I like the discipline required. You can 't be late you have to always start from the beginning. And you can't just follow and copy the instructor you have to listen and create your own progress. You must accept where you are in the moment. Everyday is your best yoga-some days are deeper than others but, you are never failing if you give 100% effort.
Precisely. And what exactly motivated you to do a 30 day challenge?
It was a long hard winter. I just felt the winter blues in full effect. I wanted to get motivated for the spring/summer, then I just wanted to feel alive again! I never regret going to a yoga class once im there so I decided to give myself that feeling everyday.
Yeah. Winters can be tough here in NYC. And it's true about not regretting your practice... once a teacher told me (promise its not a gross dumpling-like story) that the worst class you can have is the one you didnt show up to. Tell me about the challenge itself.
This challenge was dedicated to commitment and trust. I wanted to see if I could commit to going everyday and make the time in my schedule and in my life to actually go, clear my mind and give my all for 30 days. Did I trust my word? Some days i had to go to 6:30am classes before work; some days, to keep my word, i was literally running to the last class at 8pm, went to sleep and went right back to the first class the next morning. Shockingly I had more energy than ever. But, on those days when I couldn't move my body out of bed or couldn't lift my arm up to wash it I didn't give up only because I gave my word to myself.-No financial gain, no trophy just keeping my word was the prize. I thought I would lose weight but, what actually happened is I gained integrity. That integrity revealed itself in my postures. I never sat through a class, I always tried harder, breathed deeper, stood taller, smiled bigger, laughed louder and yes, i stood on my toe! (even just for 3 seconds!)
Right on! Those 3 seconds will turn into 4, then 5, and then 10. Till one day you can just stay in the pose for as long as you want. Speaking of poses, which ones are your favs/least favs?
Today I can say I love them all. My favorite is eagle. I started identifying with the spirit of the eagle. If the eagle stops flapping its wings it will fall out of the sky...so I keep going forward, i keep breathing so I don't fall. If I can get to this posture with even breath I am all in there is no turning back and then there will be WATER. I couldn't wrap my foot for over a year then I could wrap one and not the other for another year, now I can wrap both. But, you can always get deeper the work is never done. My least favorite is Triangle. It takes all of my energy and focus. There is no hiding or over compensating with another muscle. You must use every muscle. I can do it and its a mighty fine triangle but, I get stuck in my head. Somedays I bargain and do only one set. I know im only cheating myself but that keeps my practice humble. I always have something to strive for and work on. This yoga truly is a union of the mind and body. When you keep breathing and empty out all of the voices in your head your body can do anything you tell it to do. Anytime you can't do something its because you failed in your mind first-so just envision yourself doing it and then just do it! My next challenge will be dedicated to fear. I do not want to be afraid of my own progress, I will not fall and if I do I will fall forward.
Yes I totally have to agree with you about visioning yourself doing things you want to do. That's such a powerful tool to attract what you want in your life. Thanks so much for sharing Carrie! Maybe I'll see you around the SoHo studio one day!